Friday, March 30, 2007

Final Four

NCAA Final Four Atlanta, Georgia
#2 UCLA vs #1 Florida

Rematch of last year’s championship game
Yes, this is rematch of last year’s championship and yes Florida has the same team as last year, but UCLA doesn’t. Is UCLA better than they were last year? I would say they play much better as a team than last year. Remember, they spent much of the year in the top 3 or 4 in the country and were a number one seed until the last of the year. UCLA will have revenge on their mind, but every team has had revenge on their mind against Florida so the Gators are ready for that. But are they ready for an improved Arron Afflalo?

Many think UCLA is better with Jordan Farmer playing somewhere else in LA

UCLA ability to stop Florida inside game
Florida has really good post players… guys who can post you up, spin, and dunk or pass the ball out of double teams. UCLA is at a decided disadvantage in terms of size, depth, and talent in this match up. Will they double Florida and take the risk of being buried from the outside by Lee Humphrey? I think Florida has to double up inside and take away the high percentage shots. Florida has gone as far as Horford and Noah will let them.

UCLA Defensive Prowess
Florida likes to play up tempo with their talent and depth advantage nearly every game. UCLA loves to sit back and play defense for 35 seconds. The Bruins have not allowed any of their first four opponents over 60 points and that includes a team in Kansas who is the closest match to Florida’s talent and depth. The Gators can execute in the half court, but last year they jumped out on UCLA and really pushed the temp to their style. I think this go around Florida won’t be able to score 80+ points, but they will break 60.

I still like Florida, but this will be the toughest test they have faced all year... tougher than Ohio State, tougher than Kansas, tougher than anything in the SEC. I think Noah and his magical dance lead the Gators on a run in the second half to take over a game largely controlled by UCLA.

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